Superintendent MEETS with Assembly SPEAKER, Senate PRESIDENTTO LOBBY FOR INCREASED FUNDING FOR ROCHESTER SCHOOLSMarch 2015Vargas with President Skelos andSenators Funke and Robach
Vargas with Assembly Speaker Carl HeastieSuperintendent Bolgen Vargas, Ed.D., met with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate President and Majority Leader Dean Skelos in late March to continue the push for a $36 million increase in support for Rochester schools as part of the State budget.
The meeting with the Speaker was arranged by Assembly Member David F. Gantt. The meeting with President Skelos was arranged by Senator Joseph E. Robach.
The increased State aid will help the District meet a budget challenge of $66 million in 2015-16. This includes a $41 million gap driven by the expansion of charter schools, employee benefit costs, and rising transportation costs. In addition to the $41 million gap, the District intends to shift an additional $25 million in resources to invest in student achievement. This includes $10.1 million to transform East High School through a new partnership with the University of Rochester, which has also lobbied for State aid to support its Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) plan.
In a first, all members of the Assembly and Senate who represent Rochester sent letters to their chamber leaders urging support of the District’s full $36 million request. This united support shows their confidence that the District is moving in the right direction under the educational and financial leadership of Dr. Vargas.
The Superintendent said that Rochester students have long benefited from generous financial support in the State budget, which reflects a strong commitment to education from both the State legislature and Governor’s office.
“Thanks to the State’s past support, we are executing an Action Plan that is beginning to yield improved achievement for Rochester students,” Dr. Vargas said. “To continue our progress, we need increased State aid during this challenging year for the State budget. I am deeply grateful to every member of our local delegation, especially Assembly Member Gantt and Senator Robach, for giving me the chance to communicate the needs of Rochester students directly to the top leadership of the legislature.”